HOW DO I HELP MY CAT WITH FEAR & ANXIETY?
Anxiety is a feeling of uncertainty that arises because of an expected danger or threat. So even if your cat is not actually in danger, they may be expecting it. You can make out if a cat is feeling anxious through its voluntary or involuntary bodily actions. Keeping an eye out on symptoms that lead to separation anxiety, you can avert a major psychological crisis for your cat.
Many fears, phobias, and anxieties develop as a result of experiences in the initial years of a cat’s life. There can be many reasons such as early separation from mother cat, traumatizing events in life, abuse, attack by huge animals, solitary confinement and much more. Between 5 months to 1 year is the age when cats begin to show signs of separation anxiety. This anxiety later gets worse and becomes the cause of major anxiety issues around ages 1-3.
This makes it all the more important to take precautionary steps to treat your cat’s anxiety as soon as possible. We have tried to list a few common symptoms, causes and treatment methods for separation anxiety in cats.
Symptoms of separation anxiety:
We have tried to list a few symptoms of cats the symptoms of separation anxiety in cats. This list isn’t exhaustive and may include symptoms that may vary from pet to pet. Remember to look out for symptoms such as - excessive meowing, urinating outside of the cat litter box, excessive self-grooming, extreme attachment to the owner, vomiting, diarrhoea, and hiding.
There may also be certain symptoms that indicate the initial signs of cat separation anxiety:
- Shifting body or head away
- Avoiding eye contact
- Partially dilated pupils
- Slight tail flicking
- Holding their tail close to the body
These signs if neglected could result in your cats showing symptoms such as:
- Increased dilation of the pupils
- Crouching and leaning away
- Ears partially to the side
- Increased respiratory rate
- Looking at the stimulus
Causes of Separation Anxiety
- Early Separation from Parent Cat: Cats who were separated from their mom cats too early often develop separation anxiety due to the lack of social skills. It’s because kittens start to socialize with their own feline family at 3 to 9 weeks of age.
- Genetic Factor: Genetics can also play a role in cat separation anxiety. Some cats may be born with a tendency to anxiety which can be passed on to them through their genes.
- Environmental Factor: Cats become overly attached to you when they are bored or need playtime. Also, they can struggle if the home environment changes, such as changes in family members or your daily routine.
- Health Problems: Before getting diagnosed with separation anxiety, check your cat’s health problems. If she is diagnosed with separation anxiety, training can usually correct their behaviours without medication. However, medicines can be prescribed in severe cases.
- Pandemic: During the pandemic, when everyone was working from home your pets got overly attached and acclimated to you being present with them. Now, with the changing scenario and work resuming from the office, your sudden absence from home will leave a fearful and longing impression in your cat’s mind. Dr Kalpana Pawar, the veterinarian, believes that the post-pandemic periods’ separation anxiety is one of the biggest concerns that pet owners face today. “These thousands of so-called ‘pandemic pets’ have never experienced a full day away from their humans,” she says.
If not timely addressed these little symptoms could leave permanent lasting psychological trauma in the minds of the pet and could lead to serious problems in the long run.
How to treat cat separation anxiety -
- Enough Playtime: Play with your kitty two or three times a day. Get them a variety of toys and snacks, and praise them greatly when they are playing alone. If they keep being overly attached to you or start crying excessively, don’t respond.
- Training: Your cat can be nervous when they see you get ready to go out. Some of your actions can trigger separation. Then, while you are at home, repeat the actions you do when you go out. If they feel better, gradually increase the time out of the home. Leave for a while, come back, and check whether she is ok.
- Comfort: Sometimes a blanket or shirt with their pet parent’s scent helps comfort pets, consider adding one to their safe space. Consider petting them, treating them and even feeding them their favorite snacks.
If you have a pet cat or kitten at home, there are plenty of options available online when it comes to cat toys, products. These toys help you keep your pet cat active, happy and provide them with daily exercise.
To help your pet cat deal with their anxiety and fear, we have a list of some of the most durable, affordable and calming options in cat toys and products available online.
Nowadays new, smart, interactive toys are available in the market that are able to keep your cats entertained and engaged all day long. You can never go wrong with interactive toys such as these:
A built-in cat scratcher board game where the cat is free to enjoy and play as their natural instincts and release their stress. Don’t worry about scratched furniture at the home when you return home after being away for the whole day. This is an interactive toy that comes with multiple functions. It is also equipped with an electronic ball that comes with 3 modes to match your cat’s activity levels. It is also rechargeable and lasts for long periods of time. Anxiety stands no chance when your cats have a board game to keep them occupied.
2. CAT SMART BALL:
This automatic tiny Cheerble Ball rolls all by itself, and it can react to the cat’s movement. Cheerble Ball has a synthetic fiber cover and cool LED lights on it, this special design is to please the kitty’s paws and attract the kitty to notice and play together. No need to control via app, just turn it on and let your cat play with it to their heart’s content.
3. CALMING COLLAR:
Beaphar Calming Collar for cats effectively reduces problematic behaviour that arises due to stressful situations in cats of all breeds and ages. Using safe and natural ingredients that are slowly released over a period of 3-4 weeks, leaves cats feeling calm, settled, relaxed. Beaphar Calming Collar for cats contains Valerian and Lavender, which are often used in human health care to manage stress and anxiety and have shown positive results.
4. FAVOURITE TREAT:
Food is one such calming agent that is effective in calming down any and all animals alike. You can treat and train your snack to stay calm and not wreak havoc in the house in your absence. The Raw Bites Salmon Jerky are an appetizing and equally healthy treat for your cats. It’s made of dehydrated fillets of fresh Salmon which makes it 100% natural, free of preservatives and loaded with protein and essential fatty acids.
5. CBD OIL:
When all else fails, going the CBD way is the only option left. Relax CBD Oil is a natural relaxing agent that’ll calm down your pets and gradually relieve them of their anxiety. In addition to that CBD Oil aids a variety of therapeutic conditions in your cats. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body of the pet and supports the immune and nervous systems.
All these products are more than capable of calming your pet of their anxiety but what would work the most is your care. Research suggests that a blanket or shirt with their pet parent’s scent helps comfort pets considerably. Your presence, loving words and care is something that will work wonders and relieve your pet of any fear or anxiety.
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